Tag Archives: aircraft

A Hotel in the sky

This elegant zepplin could transport you thousands of miles in styleMichael Marshall Smith’s excellent novel ‘Spares’ had a large section of its story set in a crashed flying mall, which previously had flown around the country for people to come up to and shop, eat and live. With airships beginning to come back into favour, the French aerospace research body ONERA has developed the design for a flying hotel called Manned Cloud.

The whale-shaped dirigible would potentially house 40 guests and 15 crew with a range of 5000km. Although airships are less stable in high winds than planes, they also use a fraction of the fuel. Manned Cloud was designed by French designer Jean-Marie Massaud. This kind of sky cruise could be an important part of mid-21st Century travel and using airships for freight would also be very efficient.

[via Lou Anders, image from StumbleUponDemo]

Levitation and flying saucers

First the good news – scientists may have cracked a way of making objects levitate. Now the bad news – this jiggery-pokery with something called the Casimir force only works at the nanoscale so far. [OhGizmo!]

Which means it’s no use for making commercial flying machines, of course, which is a shame. But new environmental pressures are bringing new ideas and designs to the aviation table – I’d really like to see this ‘flying saucer’ aircraft concept make it into the commercial arena. [BeyondTheBeyond]

Groom lake growth spurt – Area 51 to expand

Tin foil at the ready, conspiracists – Area 51 is expanding! Wired’s Danger Room blog reckons it’s probably to do with R&D being done on new aircraft designs that could be copied if easily seen. But of course, that’s what they would say, having long ago been subsumed by the Conde-Nast alien hegemony. Or something.

Still, if it’s a US military design, they’re unlikely to share even when it’s finished. The Japanese defense agency is rather miffed at being refused the opportunity to buy a few F22 stealth fighters, despite being BFF with the Pentagon, but apparently that export ban applies to everyone. So we can assume that F22s aren’t included with the forthcoming Saudi Arabian transaction.

New shapes for aircraft seem to be the order of the day; Boeing have just successfully tested what they call a “blended wing body” aircraft prototype that moves away from the tube-with-extras format we’re used to seeing in passenger planes. The idea is that the resulting design will be stronger, more fuel-efficient and able to carry more cargo. Added bonus – it looks a bit more cool.